“If we had been using ASE in cities like San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles, many of our loved ones might still be here with us today,” said Nicole Ferrara, executive director of Walk San Francisco, at a recent event remembering people killed by cars. “The state needs to prioritize safety and take steps to implement solutions now.”
In 2013, there were 42 traffic deaths on San Francisco streets. Kate Breen, government affairs director for the SFMTA, stressed that speeding is the number one cause of traffic fatalities. “We want to use ASE cameras to target areas where you find excessive speeds… where you see cars going not one, two or three miles over the limit, but ten to fifteen,” she said.
Breen points to studies that put the survival rate for pedestrians struck by cars going 20 mph at 90 percent. But up that speed to 40 mph, and the survival rate plummets to 20 percent. Breen said that’s why it’s so important to use every available tool to keep speed in check. “ASE is a force multiplier for police enforcement.”
Breen said the point isn’t to “gotcha” speeders. Portland, for instance, uses huge signs warning about the cameras, much like we see “speed limit radar enforced” signs today. “We want to give people every opportunity to obey the law,” she said.
So what’s holding back automated speed enforcement in the Bay Area?